Today was your eighteen month checkup. Boy, do we hate doctors’ offices. Let me state that although I believe there isn’t anyone who doesn’t hate waiting rooms, WE hate them more.
You, Dad, and I have actually been in enough waiting rooms in your short time that you’d think we‘d desensitize ourselves by now. That our heart-rate wouldn’t increase a little crossing the threshold (not touching anything with our hands of course—elbows, knees, and feet are acceptable though), that our palms wouldn’t sweat, that our stomachs wouldn’t turn. I have to actively fight the urge to just stand (chairs are ripe with germs) at the optimal 6 feet from EVERYONE in the room (sick or well, I don’t care) while clutching you to my body until the nurse calls your name—I’ve done this actually and I think it makes other people uncomfortable, but again: I don’t care. You see I live in a world where I don’t pretend that the germs aren’t calling the shots. Think about those tiny organisms invading our much, much bigger human bodies, making us miserable, incapacitating us. Sure Suzy Q. and Johnny can run around the Well Waiting Area with a snot nose and lingering cough (you’re on my S#*! list parents of Suzie Q. and Johnny. One day, I’ll explain what this kind of list is—a long, long time from now) and none of the other parents will worry. No big deal, right? WRONG. Many nights have your father and I set the alarm for every two hours so that we can give you a nebulizer treatment because you’ve caught a little cold. More than once have we been to the E.R. at 5 a.m. (it’s always 5 a.m.) because you couldn’t breathe. I stock pile the remainder of any prescription steroids in the medicine cabinets—oldest in the front, newer in the back—in case of an emergency. No matter how many times you’ve had a cold, a virus, the croup; it never gets any easier hearing you struggle to breathe. And this is probably the seed of my WRP (Waiting Room Phobia).
But you are such a trooper, kid. Strong, patient, and good-natured through it all. As you’ve gotten older, you’ve become more resilient (despite my refusal to leave the house whenever I see “Sick baby” trending on Facebook statuses). So today, I thought I’d take it a little bit easier in the WR. After checking in (when I couldn’t find my own pen to use—tip: always have your own pen handy, son, no matter where you are), we used hand wipes two times before I’d even made it to a chair in the well area. There were too many people in the room for me to find a chair that was 6 feet from everyone, so I settled for a chair in the corner, that way I had my back to no one –all threats (thanks again, parents of Suzy Q. and Johnny) were visible. Now that you are more mobile and curious in new surroundings I worried that you might whine and squirm to get down--which is absolutely OFF LIMITS FOREVER. But thank goodness, you are an introvert like me, perfectly happy to sit in my lap and observe the absurdity around you.
Kids rolling on the floor. Kids coughing and wiping their hands and faces all over the windows—I admit the view of the apple orchards from the 4th floor is pretty cool, but really? Is that necessary! Kids TOUCHING EACH OTHERS FACES—grossest thing I’ve seen all week. Parents coughing. Parents wearing Pooh shirts (this is a double entendre—I’ll explain that one day too). I tried to think clean thoughts. I thought of the NICU and the Scrubbing-in sink. I wondered where I could get and install one of these in our home.
By the time they called our name, which was a good 15 minutes; you had decided that it was okay to talk to the cute newborn baby girl who was trying to sleep next to us.
Aye, (hi) you greeted her.
And they told you how cute you were and you smiled for them.
Buh-bye, you waved when we got up to leave.
So, perhaps it’s not me who’s really giving a lesson or saying anything meaningful about my stupid Waiting Room Phobia, maybe it’s you who is teaching your Mom a thing or two. That maybe it’s OK, to say hello once in a while. We made it out of there alive, after all, and at least you smiled—if only that once.